he could, if a time came when land would be worth any-
thing again. He thought that he might sell the place, and go
away. But not until things were over, one way or the other.
He went to the Ball place now, as he had gone to the
Christian place before. But there was a difference. At the
Christian place he had been caught up into a life there; the
small night noises, the distant barking of dogs and the creak-
ing of timbers, the shadowy, white door swinging inward
and Lucille Christian standing there, with her finger raised
to her lips, her whispered conversation. It had been a
restricted, distraught, confused, feverish, and undirected life,
but a life which was real, and his own. But at the Ball place,
he had no life truly his own; he watched the life of others
move soberly, and sympathetically, about him, and beyond
But that life at the Christian place was over forever. He
knew that. From the moment when he had heard Lucille
Christian's voice on the telephone that morning after the
burning of his house, he had known, although he had been
unwilling to acknowledge, that it was over. A few days after
Mr. Christian's stroke, he had gone to see Lucille Christian.
They had sat in the dining room, with a single lamp burning
uncertainly on the big table between them, with their
shadows, large and possessive and black, on the walls behind
them, and had eaten in silence. Once or twice, as by accident,
their eyes had met, but uncommunicatively and shortly.
They had sat there, still without speaking, after the cook had
carried out the dishes and the sound of her activities in the
pantry and kitchen had ceased. Finally, looking down at
the tablecloth and then off at the shadowy wall beyond her,
he had asked her to marry him. When he was free.
" Oh, Perse, Perse," she had cried, " why do you have to
talk about that? That isn't important. Now."
Meeting her eyes fully at last, he had said, "It is im-
"People have to have something to look forward to," he